Despite enormous efforts, biochemical and molecular mechanisms associated with equine reproduction, particularly processes of pregnancy establishment, have not been well characterized. Previously, PCR-selected suppression subtraction hybridization analysis was executed to identify unique molecules functioning in the equine endometrium during periods of pregnancy establishment, and granzyme B (GZMB) cDNA was found in the pregnant endometrial cDNA library. Because GZMB is produced from natural killer (NK) cells, endometrial expression of GZMB and immune-related transcripts were characterized in this study. The level of GZMB mRNA is higher in the pregnant endometrium than in non-pregnant ones. This expression was also confirmed through Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses. IL-2 mRNA declined as pregnancy progressed, while IL-15, IFNG and TGFB1 transcripts increased on day 19 and/or 25. Analyses of IL-4 and IL-12 mRNAs demonstrated the increase in these transcripts as pregnancy progressed. Increase in CCR5 and CCR4 mRNAs indicated that both Th1 and Th2 cells coexisted in the day 25 pregnant endometrium. Taken together, the endometrial expression of immune-related transcripts suggests that immunological responses are present even before the trophectoderm actually attaches to the uterine epithelial cells.
Issn0916-8818 (Print) 1348-4400 (Electronic)
JournaltitleThe Journal of Reproduction and Development